Among the many implications of FBI Director James Comey's recommendation that the Department of Justice bring no charges against Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while secretary of state, the single-biggest one is this: She now has a clear path to becoming the next president of the United States. As disliked as she is (56 percent of Americans dislike her), she is less disliked than Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and thus more likely to win in November.
Yet the essential fact of Clinton is that she is effectively an empty (pant)suit, with no major legislative accomplishments as a senator from New York and a long list of failures during her time as the nation's top diplomat (remember the botched Russian "reset" and her continuing approval of the cataclysmic Libya intervention). She is especially bad from a libertarian perspective, where beyond her war-mongering, she has promised to increase government spending, approves of the surveillance state, and is at best grudgingly socially tolerant. She only endorsed marriage equality in 2013, still opposes pot legalization, and is suspiciously strategic in coming around to liking immigrants. Oh yeah, she's also against not just the Trans-Pacific Partnership but the North American Free Trade Agreement (which is to say, she's as protectionist as Donald Trump).
As I write in a new Daily Beast column:
This goopy mélange of positions may be enough to win in an election where Donald Trump is her main challenger, but it shouldn't be confused with anything approaching leadership, statesmanship, or vision. No wonder her supporters are quick to judge her not on the quality of her ideas but on the content of her resume.
America is floundering in the 21st century, the victim of indefensible foreign policy that Clinton herself helped to mis-execute; of out-of-control government spending and regulatory excess under successive Republican and Democratic presidents that has dampened economic growth by 50 percent compared to post-war averages; and a hollowing out of faith in government due to endless scandals and malfeasance stemming from plutocratic contempt for transparency on the part of our leaders (something else with which Clinton is familiar).
In other words, she may well be the second coming of George H.W. Bush:
So when Hillary Clinton ascends the throne next January, the least we can do as a serious people is to acknowledge that a person who hates the sharing economy—one of the few bright spots in the economy—is a time-server at best, an enemy of our future at worst.
And we'd do well to remember the last president who lacked the "vision thing" and got elected on the strength of his resume. That would be George H.W. Bush, whose single term as president was nobody's idea of a success. Bush was the end of the line, not the start of something. He was the last president from the Depression era and the last to have fought in World War II. He was clearly unprepared for the post-Cold War world that began under his presidency. In a similar way, the 2016 election will likely be the last in which a Baby Boomer becomes president (here's hoping, anyway). That is as it should be, as both Clinton and Trump, despite claims to the contrary, are relics of the past, not heralds of the future.